Gein’s Family Giftshop: Volume 3

Admittedly my favourite sketch troupe returns bigger, more self-sceptical and could scarcely be darker.

Gein’s Family Giftshop: Volume 3

Crouched on either side of the stage are two new faces on their marks to prepare for what will become a cracking sight gag. Kath Hughes and Ed Easton, dancing and giving out badges respectively, abscond from their signature PE kits for the first portion of the show. This wasn't lost on the audience as they addressed the decision on stage – as they do with every production decision, subverting the expectations of the perfectly pruned form of sketch comedy.

Gein's Family Giftshop: breaking the fourth wall in the most malevolent ways possible.

It's naïve to think that any inconsistency by Gein's isn't 100% deliberate, especially if you've seen Volume 1 or Volume 2. However, it seems that there was actually a glaring hole in the show that the cast couldn't help. James Meehan decided not to do Volume 3 too close to the Fringe for comfort. With less of a pithy integration of the fact into any of the sketch's narratives, it feels more like a full disclaimer by the remaining cast.

A new troupe member injects a brand new dynamic into the trio, filling the hole newly rather than being Meehan's automatic surrogate. They used this to hammer home some not-so-jokes about classism within the performing arts.

With a big sold-out crowd, the laughs were aplenty. You can't accuse Gein's of telling purely dark jokes – you get the immature toilet humour in droves – but with the dark jokes they do tell, you get the overwhelming reaction from the audience that tells you they hate themselves for laughing.

Their humour isn't complex, they simply vocalise the shameful associations the audience already makes in their minds. But even knowing this doesn't dull the hilarity.

Gein's have aged well and their ideas are all new this time around, showing they learnt from recycling jokes in previous shows. With trilogies, you begin to posit the future. I'd like to see Gein's take their signature style into a novel new setting, which I've no doubt their insipid and inspired minds have the capability of conjuring.

Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 3 is on at the Pleasance Courtyard every night for the rest of the Fringe. For tickets and info, visit the Fringe website.


Bhavesh Jadva

Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team

Former Media Editor on Voice and former Arts Award Editor on AAoV covering film, TV, music and comedy.

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